Wildlife, relaxing and adrenalin – Botswana and Victoria Falls
There can be little more satisfying than combining world class scenery and adventures with spectacular wildlife viewing in an expanse of pristine wilderness. That’s exactly what we can offer you if you combine a holiday to Victoria Falls with a safari in Botswana. Because the distances between the Falls and Botswana’s most prolific wildlife habitats are so small, it’s perfectly possible to go for a game drive in the Okavango Delta in the morning, and arrive beside the Zambezi River in time for afternoon tea.
Botswana is a beautiful country that offers discerning safari goers some of the finest wildlife viewing in Africa. It has a vast expanse of untrammelled wilderness, a plethora of excellent places to stay, and a government that cares about the future of the wildlife and its own people. The policy here is to make things easy for visitors, and to keep the standards high, environmentally as well as operationally, and the benefit of this is a truly superb safari experience for guests.
Little Vumbura is a fine example of what Botswana does so well, a classic small luxury safari camp that offers great comfort in a very beautiful and amazingly remote place – you fly over waterways, woodlands, marshes, floodplains, and grassland to the nearby airstrip and then take a land-rover to the water’s edge, and embark on a short boat trip through papyrus fringed waterways to the camp. The wildlife viewing here is excellent, and you’ll have a good chance of seeing lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, cheetah, hyena, giraffe, zebra, and much more besides. To enhance the experience, night drives, walking safaris, boat cruises, and mokoro (traditional dug-out canoe) trips are also offered when the conditions permit, along with seasonal catch-and-release fishing.
You then fly over this wonderful wilderness in a 12 seater aircraft for a little over an hour to Kasane, and cross the Zambezi River into Zambia. Before you know it, you’ll be ensconced in luxury at one of the glorious and characterful lodges on the riverbank.
Being able to awake when you wish instead of the pre-dawn start on safari is among the numerous joys of a holiday on this spectacular stretch of the mighty Zambezi. There are a number of excellent lodges in peaceful and very beautiful settings beside the river upstream from Victoria Falls, which offer the chance to relax in attractive surroundings or enjoy some adrenalin filled activities.
Tongabezi is the epitome of a great place to stay here, with characterful and attractive rooms spread along the water’s edge that offer great comfort and plenty of space. There are numerous peaceful and private spots throughout the lodge, where guests can relax, read a book, scroll through their safari pictures, or just enjoy the majestic river gliding quietly past and the prolific birdlife in the lush riparian forest. The hospitality here is warm and generous, and the food is excellent.
In addition to relaxing, there are plenty of ways to get the blood pumping, including visiting the Victoria Falls themselves, go for boat cruises on the river, have picnic lunches on islands, go canoeing or white water rafting, jump off the bridge on the end of a bungee, slide down a zip wire across the gorge, take a helicopter or microlight flight over the Falls, or try your hand at fishing.
How to make it work – combining Botswana with Victoria Falls
There are British Airways, South African Airways and Virgin Atlantic overnight flights from London to Johannesburg every night of the year, as well as daily connections to Maun in Botswana, Victoria Falls and Livingstone. This makes it an easy combination to do, with civilised connection times as well. Since the travel time between Botswana’s wilderness and Victoria Falls is so short, it takes little longer than travelling between two safari camps in other parts of Africa.
While I’ve described safari first and Victoria Falls second, it’s perfectly feasible to enjoy them in the opposite order. One might decide to rest up a little around Victoria Falls after the initial international travel before heading into Botswana for a safari. The timings of the flights between Johannesburg, Maun and Victoria Falls or Livingstone make this entirely possible.
When to visit Botswana and Victoria Falls
Although you can visit both countries year round, it’s worth noting that January, February and March are the months when it might rain. May to September is cooler, dry, clear skies and warm days, while October and November can be very hot, with humidity levels rising through November into December, until the rains cool things down a little.
For a longer article on the best times to visit Victoria Falls, covering the activities, the size of the falls themselves, and more, see our detailed blog: When is best for Victoria Falls
And for an article on the best time to visit the Okavango Delta see the detailed blog on that area, its wildlife, when the flood arrives and more: Best time to visit Okavango Delta
Botswana and Victoria Falls Safari Planning
We all travel regularly, and experience Africa at different times of the year. We are all in a good position to help, and you are welcome to either call me, Francis, or send us an email with your wish list.